After over a decade of being a vital cog in multiple bands, Sam Lambeth has finally ventured on a musical journey where he trudges along his own path, abiding by his own creative ingenuity. Friday saw the release of his first solo album ‘Love & Exile,’ which explores the ideas of life, death, trust, faith, friendship, love, dreams and regret.
“I had felt my career in music had run its course, and I was content in retirement. Then lockdown happened,” Lambeth says. “I had been writing songs, but the plan was never for them to see the light of day. With so much free time bestowed upon me, I began nurturing them. When I was in bands, it was always ‘write a song, rehearse it, play it’. I’d never before had the chance to experiment, to decorate, to develop.”
However, with legendary producer Ryan Pinson (Violet, God Damn, Riscas) behind the desk and behind the drum kit, and friend Zoe Brittle on piano, Lambeth entered RML Studios in August 2020 determined to make the album he’d wanted to make since that day he wrote his first song.
What comes as a result is an emotionally woven release that is perfect for showing off everything Lambeth can achieve. ‘Love & Exile’ packs a punch. Lambeth has an artillery of Bob Dylan sounding harmonies and folk-like flows, the attitude and swagger of Johnny Horton, and surprisingly, yet oddly satisfying vocals of Chris Helme of The Seahorses or Ian Brown of the Stone Roses, which seems most apparent in the opening song ‘Dog Days Are-a-Comin’ again’.
Maybe that’s just my love of Mancunian music having a massive effect on my ears, but nevertheless, Sam Lambeth’s blends of musical textures makes for a delightful listen. The singer-songwriter has received extensive radio play, sold out a headline gig, had numerous playlist additions, and achieved an award nomination, so it’s hardly surprising that his debut solo release has come out so well.
While a lot of artists continue to break a sweat over how to please a crowd or lose sleep over trying to get the perfect chorus, it seems like Lambeth never struggles with curating something he loves. Whether it’s the rugged, starry night sky evoking harmonica on ‘The Things You Lose on the Breeze’ or the silky toned vocals in ‘When Love Ain’t Enough,’ every track flows seamlessly.
Since relaunching, Lambeth has donated a huge chunk of his proceeds to the WWF, has planted nearly 30 trees for One Tree Planted, has given money to help hurricane-hit areas secure sustainable water systems, and is in dialogue with music venues to make his gigs more sustainable via reusable cups.
The CD version of Love & Exile will not only include some of Lambeth’s classic material from former bands but will also see half of the proceeds go to the WWF. Each cover will be unique and will feature an endangered species. Each copy will also be signed and come with lyric sheets and a never-before released track.
The final song on the seven-track album is ‘The Scenic Route’, and it is arguably the best. Stemming from a plethora of themes that were mentioned before, it truly is an epic ride, and a perfect number to stick on during a road trip. It’s thought-provoking, it’s heavenly, it’s uncontrollably replayable.
All in all, this short release explodes with harmonies that serve as a monolith of Lambeth’s musical successes. His experiences filter through the strums of the guitar, while his attention to detail takes a vehement grip of the stories he tells through his contagious personality.
Being able to take the best of folk and country music, then adding a sprinkling of his own character into the blend has resulted in a meritorious solo album. ****